FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams on Monday was highly critical of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s line-item veto of emergency election legislation.
“In his inaugural speech, Governor Beshear said ‘we have to begin looking at each as teammates, as fellow Kentuckians, not as Republicans and Democrats.’ However, when Governor Beshear had an opportunity to live into his own words, he instead forcibly removed his Republican teammate – who by law is the chief elections official – from the process of approving new procedures for an election in a state of emergency,” Adams said.
“While I’m working to save this election, the governor is playing partisan games. Assuming the governor even can line-item veto this bill, I call on the General Assembly to override this unfortunate act,” said Adams.
The measure Governor Beshear vetoed, House Bill 351, includes language giving the governor and secretary of state the ability to jointly alter the “manner,” not just the time and place of an election. The legislation provides for the governor and secretary of state to approve the technical election procedures ultimately established by the State Board of Elections.
Kentucky’s May Primary has already been moved to June due to the coronavirus outbreak. Most expect the June Primary to be conducted by mail-in ballot, due to the virus. Secretary Adams moved the Primary to the latest possible date in June allowed by law.
“Rather than building a bipartisan ‘Team Kentucky,’ the governor has misused his power to keep a Republican – the chief elections official and a seasoned election professional – from participation on the team. Even Democratic legislators agree that the process of developing new election rules should be bipartisan, and include the chief elections official. Clearly, there’s a reason the ‘Team Kentucky’ logo is blue,” said Adams.
The General Assembly will reconvene for its last days of the 2020 legislative session Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15.
During these two days, the House and Senate chambers will consider any remaining bills as well as overrides for any legislation recently vetoed by Governor Beshear.
The legislature must wrap up the session by midnight on Wednesday.
Governor Beshear must make decisions on the budget and revenue bills by midnight tonight (Monday, April 13). Veto overrides require a simple majority in each chamber.